166 of 168 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2000
This book and the other Practice-Makes-Perfect workbook by Dorothy Richmond ("Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions") are the best Spanish books I've ever used. I just got back from 2 years in the Peace Corps in Honduras and I studied these books every day. They REALLY helped me learn more Spanish! In addition to the concise, easy-to-understand instruction sections, there's tons of exercises to do (with the correct answers in the back of the book) and as I did the exercises, I picked up all kinds of things that I'd been wondering how to say. I also liked the verb workbook a lot because it went way beyond the present tense, all the way to the subjunctive uses of "haber" and other more advanced things I really wanted to know. (This book is especially great if you already know some Spanish because you need some vocabulary to do the exercises, unless you don't mind looking up lots of words in the dictionary.) I highly recommend this book!
141 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2002
This is the only textbook/workbook available on the market so far that is thorough in its objective which is to study, analyze and understand Spanish verb tenses and moods. I deem this workbook as a course in itself on Spanish verbs and the various rules and usage due to the completeness and extensive coverage provided in every chapter. The book provides a summary of the topic to be covered, examples of the verb concept in a phrase, practice exercises and amazingly enough a practice translation which encompass all the verb concepts taught in the chapter and concepts taught progressively throughout the book. The practice exercises allows for immediate application of the concept being reviewed and the answer key at the back allows you correct your exercises and realize your strengths and weaknesses during the learning process.I recommend this book to intermediate and advance level Spanish students as well as native speakers who wish to clarify and perfectionize specific verb concepts that prove to be difficult in Spanish. I have used this book with my students and also for personal clarification of doubts from time to time. This book will definitely prove to be beneficial and can be studied as a course in Spanish verbs. If you follow the lessons chapter by chapter you will realize the correlation from one chapter to the another and therefore progress in your understanding of the concepts being reviewed. You can't go wrong with this purchase as it is educational, economical and an eternal verb resource material. High recommendation given.
101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2003
Verbs are the heart of any language. If you want to become knowledgable and facil at not only conjugting verbs but understanding the contextual usage and rules governing the uses of the verbs, then this is the book for you. I think that anyone interested in studying Spanish, especially if they want to study it on their own, should have this workbook as part of their repertoire. I have found it invaluable. I recommend it highly. (I have also purchased and studied Richmond's Pronouns and Preposition workbook and the reviews are similar.)
I have given the book a 4 star rating rather than five for the following reasons:
1. Lack of an index: (The same is true of the Pronouns and Preposition workbook.) I find it hard to comprehend how a contemporary academic book can be published without an index. There is a tremendous amount of valuable information contained in this book but being limited to the Table of Contents or to ones memory of where a specific item can be found is debilitating. This is a terrible ommission.
2. After studying the book thoroughly twice, my workbook is riddled with tabs and annotations in search of clarifications. A bit of addtional clarification and some additional examples before the author goes off into the exercises would potentially eliminate a considerable amount of confusion. The sections on Ser and Estar are a good example. It appears that sufficient explanaions are provided in the book (in the section on Ser for exaple) until one delves into further exercises in subsequent chapters of the book. There, knowledge of the full use of "Ser" is assumed, but referencing back to the original chapeter on "Ser" leaves one empty handed (in some but not all cases) as to why "Ser" was used rather than "Estar." This might seem picayune until one looks back on the total number of questions raised throughout the book. It is understandable that the author cannot anticipate all possible questions and points of confusion, but a bit more explanation and the use of additional examples would greatly amplify and clarify the grammatical content.
3. The student would also benefit greatly by having additional exercises in the book that mix and match what is learned in previous chapters (This is done is a few limited cases.) It is all too easy as an exercise to answer questions and translate text that directly follows the material being presented, for it is customed tailored to the points being made in that exercise. Addtional end of chapter exercise combining all that has been learned would be a valued addition. With that said, let me also add that the translation paragraphs at the end of each section (as humorous and as enjoyable as they are to translate) somewhat satisfy this contention, but not fully.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2001
I studied Spanish for two years in college, put down my books for four years, then decided to study again on my own. Vocabulary came back to me rather quickly, but verbs have been a challenge (as they were in college as well).
"Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses" has been an unbelievably helpful resource in learning Spanish verb tenses. This book could almost stand alone as a textbook on Spanish verbs, and the exercises are fabulous.
In spite of the few small mistakes I've noticed in this book, it is an amazing value and I highly recommend it to anyone learning this fascinating language.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 1999
I am a Spanish teacher and I found out about Ms. Richmond's book through another teacher. I immediately bought the book and found it to be very useful in teaching concepts fundamental to Spanish. There were clear, insightful explanations that I had never seen before. As many before me have commented, this book is an excellent value for the money and would be a welcome asset to any teacher's reference library. It would also be an excellent resource for any aspiring student of Spanish because it makes the daunting task of mastering Spanish verbs a much more realistic goal.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2003
This book reminds me of the way my HS teacher of 4 years taught Spanish. It was "kill and drill" all the way, but it worked and I got a great foundation of the basics (this is 1975 to 1979, mind you), which has allowed me to, in the past 6 mos., begin my studies anew "independientemene," without feeling lost.
"Kill and drill" may be an anathman to the current zeitgeist in education, which stresses something called a "wholistic approach," but it is a method that has been tried and true. It's not as sexy as some of the present day modes of educating, but it works.
This book will lay a very, very strong foundation to the beginner, as well as "fill in the blanks" for the intermediate and advanced learner. The author uses a no-nonsense approach, which means she eschews excessive comment, as well as comments that are not germane to learning how to process/use verbs, and she sticks to the basics- Verb ending for all tenses, and proper usage. You can't go wrong with an approach like that. She also does a masterful job with irregular verbs, which is the bug-a-boo for all learners, beginners and advanced alike.
If the companion book on Spanish Grammar is as good as this book, together they will make a "deadly combination;" one that will put the learner well on their way to the proverbial "next level."
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I would not have learned what I know about Spanish verbs if I hadn't bought this book. The price is almost embarassingly low, and the amount of information you get for your money is astounding.
This book will help with reading comprehension and writing of Spanish. All of the verb tenses are covered, and accompanied by exercises that solidly reinforce the material. All you need to do is sit down with a pencil or pen, start reading and then start writing. The exercises are designed to reinforce your learning, and you'll be surprised how much you retain from completing them. I am almost completely self-taught (I had some help from some native speakers with conversation), and this book was a part of my language-learning arsenal that helped me more than get by with Spanish in South America and Spain.
LIttle by little the book goes through the various Spanish verb tenses starting with the present (hablo, hablas, etc). Before that the book goes over some basics like pronouns to provide a foundation (yo, te, me, elle, etc.). From there the book goes on to cover every Spanish verb tense I've ever heard of, including an elucidating few chapters on the subjunctive. You can literally start with almost no knowledge of Spanish. The book will not help you with speaking, however, nor will it teach you everything. Believe the words on the cover: this book is about verbs.
Verb conjugation may not be the most exciting thing humans have come up with, but this book almost makes conjugation fun (did I say that? No, not me, must have been someone else).
You certainly can't go wrong for the price.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2001
Dorothy Devney Richmond has produced a wonderful exercise book to help students master the Spanish language. Her explanations and examples are clear and concise and the opportunities for practice, practice, practice are invaluable in applying the rules of grammar. Every exercise has the correct answers in the back of the book, unlike most other Spanish workbooks. I teach Spanish at our local community college and I recommend this book to all my students as an excellent resource book to be used in addition to the classroom text. I only wish Ms. Richmond would publish more! How about a 2nd Edition of Spanish Verb Tenses?
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2001
The explanations given in this book are the clearest I have found for the use of the various tenses and verbs. For example, the author provides five pages of material describing the proper uses of 'ser' and 'estar.' She clearly details how each should be used. The exercises are very appliable and to the point. The book is wonerfully lacking in linguistic jargon. Any linguistic terms used are explained clearly with appropriate examples. The format is very easy to follow, and the book is logically organized.
This book is exactly what it claims to be. It provides further practice for someone with a basic grasp of Spanish. I am using it in conjunction with Barron's Mastering Spanish Level II audiocassette series and have found it to be a very useful asset. Answers to the exercises are given in an easy-to-read format in the back of the book.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2003
Though I spent 5 weeks at Tec de Monterrey in MX learning Spanish, I am now learning mostly on my own. I have several college-level textbooks, but this book, by far, is helping me understand verbs more than any other process, including living and using the language daily. Used with other resources (a dictionary, etc), a person can really get a solid sense of the different conjugations, regular and irregular. The authors are correct, the verb is the "engine" of a sentence. General vocabulary will get you only so far.
For basic conversation, you need the verbs, and you need to know multiple tenses. Even knowing the irregulars is not as important as being able, at the least, to switch from past to present to future to conditional. If you mess up an irregular, but use the right tense you want, a native speaker will understand you well enough. And, when you misunderstand their use of an irregular, you'll have enough knowledge to be able to ask about it and understand their explanation. And, that, ultimately is how you learn a language. Not though perfect speech, but rather through a process and tools that help you get through the rough and tricky spots. This book is that... a great tool!
I'm getting ready to head to Puerto Rico this summer and feel exceptionally confident my continued study of this book will influence my ability and confidence greatly when it comes to actually talking with native speakers. Also, I like this book so much that I'm purchasing Richmond and Devney's similar "Pronoun and Preposition" book. I only wish they had about 6 more of these kinds of workbooks.